Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing "Non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: CTBT"
Russia is fully committed to the goal of full and permanent end of nuclear testing globally. Since 1991, our country has upheld a moratorium on nuclear tests, and has not carried out a single nuclear burst throughout all this time.
This year marks 25 years since the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was signed. CTBT endorsement in 1996 was an important milestone in the context of international efforts aimed at enforcing a comprehensive prohibition of nuclear tests. Russia took active part in elaborating this document and ratified in back in 2000. Since then, we have uncompromisingly complied with its provisions, and we contribute constructively to the work of the CTBT Preparatory Commission.
President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin emphasized in a statement on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of CTBT that “the drafting of this historical document, aimed at a dramatic strengthening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, has confirmed that even the most difficult global security issues can and must be solved through talks”.
Now, after 25 years, the CTBT has become almost universal by the number of participants and by the thoroughly elaborated international legal instruments against nuclear tests. It envisages an all-out non-threshold ban on any nuclear tests, backed by a system of effective control, which can act as a reliable barrier preventing proliferation and qualitative advancement of nuclear weapons. An overwhelming majority of states, including Russia, perceive CTBT as an inalienable element of ensuring international security and stability.
We welcome the signing and ratification of the CTBT by Cuba and the Union of the Comoros. Each ratification is extremely important as another step towards making this treaty truly universal.
Nevertheless, the celebratory mood instilled by this anniversary is overshadowed by the fact that CTBT never entered into force and that its prospects remain rather vague. States that made a decision to support the treaty cannot fully rely on it. We already raised our concerns over this situation during the 12th Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT on 23 September 2021.
Unfortunately, eight countries listed in Annex 2 to the Treaty, whose ratification is necessary for its entry into force, yet have not been able to take practical steps towards its signing/ratification. This creates major impediments in the area of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. We can hardly call it normal when an international agreement cannot start to be fully functional 25 years since it was made. We are convinced that any attempts to gain strategic advantage through refusal to participate in key international agreements are unacceptable. In light of some recent news about creation of military and technological alliances, we have had some concerns regarding the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Russia stands for further progressive development of the CTBT verification regime and contributes meaningfully to the corresponding work by creating a second-largest national monitoring segment. Once completed, it will encompass 32 facilities, 29 of them already being functional.
Potential of the CTBT Preparatory Commission is unique, and it can be broadly applicable. This, however, gives no reason to use it improperly or without measure. Verification mechanism is designed to meet particular tasks that are clearly stipulated in the Treaty. Its main goal is to control compliance with obligations under the CTBT. As for establishment of the verification mechanism, such work must proceed strictly in accordance with the CTBT provisions and the mandate of the Preparatory Commission; it must also account for the real prospects of the Treaty’s entry into force.
I would like to remind that before the CTBT enters into force, elements of the verification mechanism may function and be used only in a test and interim mode. Any participation of members of the Preparatory Commission in related activity (including transfer of data from stations of the international monitoring system) remains voluntary up to the moment the CTBT enters into force. When signing and ratifying the CTBT, we gave our consent to participate in it precisely on these conditions.
We hope that this situation, necessitated by the CTBT non-entry into force will not be lasting for a few more years or decades. We call on the leadership of states who are to determine the fate of the CTBT to demonstrate political will and responsibility, and make concrete decisions to have the Treaty signed/ratified as soon as possible.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that until the CTBT enters into force, all states should stick to its letter and spirit. Also, it is crucial to have a moratorium on nuclear tests until that time. Russia is committed to uphold this moratorium as long as other nuclear powers do the same. However we must bear in mind that a voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests is a temporary, interim measure that cannot substitute for legally binding obligations of states under an international treaty; neither can this measure reinforce the power of collective action of the global community in case such a treaty comes to be violated.